Liu  Guijin

Liu Guijin

China's Special Representative to Darfur

Date of Birth: 01/08/1945
Place of Birth: Shadong Province

Liu Guijin is in an unenviable position. As China’s Envoy to Africa, he must balance its often contradictory priorities: on one hand, China claims the internal affairs of its African business partners are none of its business; on the other hand, it has a seat on the United Nations Security Council, which has increasingly made Sudan’s Darfur conflict its business.

He has dropped some clangers along the way: ‘I didn’t see a desperate scenario of people dying of hunger,’ he announced after visiting Darfur in May 2008. In September, in response to questions about Chinese arms deals with Sudan’s government, Liu told CNN: ‘If I am selling a knife, I cannot ensure that my client will not use the knife for murder, even though this is not my intention.’ Yet he has also taken much credit for getting Khartoum to accept the deployment of the UN-African Union Mission to Darfur (UNAMID) and regularly meets representatives of the UN, AU and United States.

Liu joined the Foreign Ministry in 1972, and during the next 25 years alternated diplomatic postings in Africa with stints back in Beijing, where he rose to the head of the African Affairs department. He was an Attaché to Kenya and Ethiopia, and Ambassador to Zimbabwe (1995-1998) and South Africa (2001-2007). He was made Special Envoy in May 2007.

China has pledged a 315-member engineering unit to the 26,000-strong UNAMID force. This tiny fraction of the overall force has already attracted disproportionate attention: two rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement, have stated their hostility to the Chinese presence. If the Chinese unit is targeted, Liu’s dexterity – and his country’s principle of noninterference – will be put to the test.


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Vol 49 N0 5


Lifting the bamboo curtain

China is worried about the 'deadlock' in Darfur and is looking for new ideas, its Special Representative for Africa and Darfur, Liu Guijin, told a leading Sudanese civic activist in London last week...

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